Pressure Wave Interference when Running with Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

This is a cursory consideration of an interesting issue: Pressure wave interference when running with peripheral arterial disease.

I have pretty severe vascular occlusion in branches of my right popliteal artery (partially blocked blood vessels in my right calf due to arteriosclerosis, reducing blood flow to tissues below my knee). This is further complicated by the presence of my non-compliant (inelastic), hypertension-inducing, abdominal aortic aneurysm stent graft.

There is the potential for important pressure wave interference in my legs as I walk and run. For instance, the wave of increased blood pressure that travels from my heart as it contracts (systole) down to the far reaches of my right foot, with the aid of elastic tissue in aortic and arterial walls, will meet a tissue pressure wave traveling in the opposite direction, produced as my foot strikes the ground. These waves can interact in interesting ways, with the potential to both assist and impair blood perfusion in the capillary beds of my lower right leg.

Please note: Water, the main constituent of most tissues, including blood, is incompressible (you can’t squash it, like you can compress air). The pressure of the waves I’m talking about is stored in elastic tissue components or is dissipated as work (e.g. moving blood) or lost as heat.

If you have PAD, watch the movie at the head of this post, and think about it in terms of what we can do to improve our situation with respect to (1) cadence (foot strikes/minute versus heart beats/minute), (2) foot impact level, soft to hard, and (3) whole body biomechanics, especially below the knee. This is the nature of my ongoing experimentation in order to continue Ironman training.

The symptoms when I run, and less so when I walk, include cramping, numbness, and loss of function – clomping or thumping foot interaction with the ground. I can now study the three (others, e.g. diet?) variables mentioned above, in an attempt to find a solution to running effectively with PAD.

Is this a classic three body problem? I don’t want my leg to fly off somewhere.

Pressure Wave Interference when Running
For an interesting discussion of the three-body (variable) problem, click this link.

How will I know if I’m making progress as I change impact stress (decrease, as claudication does not occur on the impact free bike and elliptical trainer), run cadence against effort-induced changes in heart rate, and how I employ my body to run, for which there are endless variants.

Simple: Pain, arch function, endurance and pace.

Think about it.

kev aka FitOldDog

pressure wave interference when running
Grey is muscle, white is fat, clear ring around the central white spot (bone marrow) is the femoral bone.

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.